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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 03-28-2011, 06:17 AM   #1
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Default Vending Chicken

For you vendors, how do you smoke/prepare your chicken? Do you brine? Whats the best way to hold them without chancing drying them out? Is there a certain cut of the chicken you prefer to vend?

I plan on firing up the smoker again this weekend to work on chicken and would like to try out a couple different methods!
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Unread 03-28-2011, 01:40 PM   #2
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Hey Nathan. This thread looked lonely, so I'll help you out....

You need to decide if you are going to vend pieces, a half or whole bird and buy accordingly. If you are doing a half or whole, spatchcock (see youtube below) your bird, sprinkle the rub and throw it on the smoker. Brining definitely brings more moisture into the bird, but don't brine too long. Maybe 2-4 hours tops. The problem with brining is finding where to do it with a large amount of chickens.

Chicken is the most feared of meats, cause there is a fine line between overcooked and bloody. It just takes practice.

YouTube - How to spatchcock a chicken

The guy in the video cuts it in half after taking out backbone. Most people leave the keel bone in and leave the bird one piece. That is a classic spatchcock. This was the best video I could find. I would recommend stopping after you take the backbone out and spread the cavity. I like to take the ribs out as well, but that is up to you. Figure out your own style.

As to what you should vend, hopefully someone else will chime in. I do know that most of the public prefers white meat. I'm a thigh guy myself. Whole chickens are definitely cheap. You could do wholes and then offer the leg and thigh or the breast. You could then offer that half or whole on your menu.

As to holding, you can smoke to temp and then wrap in foil in a hold box or cooler until serving. Just make sure the temp is right when you serve. It tastes best right off the smoker, as the skin is crispiest. Once you hold it for a while, the skin will soften. If you are vending over a whole day, you could just stagger your birds throughout the day.

Below is a good link from Weber that goes through holding of cooked meat.

http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/storing.html

Hope this answer some of your questions.

Have a good one.
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Unread 03-28-2011, 02:30 PM   #3
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boneless skinless thighs and pull them, thats the only way to do it. You can do half chickens but that gets to be a pain in the arse.
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Unread 03-28-2011, 02:57 PM   #4
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Hey Dex,

When we vend / PC we only use boneless skinless thighs. We dry rub them with a ton of Rotiserie style seasoning - you can find it at S & F for about $5.50 per 16oz - this will last us about 40lbs of thighs.

We buy these thighs frozen in a 40# case at S & F for $.99 - $1.03 per lb. You may have to order ahead of time becuase not all S & F carry this item. You can probably also find something similar at RD.

We usually cook the thighs at 225 - 250 for 2 hours or until 160 - 165 internal temp and then pan them up in disposable half pans with a few ounces of apple juice in the bottom and foil the top. Depending on the IT, we'll put them back on the cooker at 180 - 220. They'll cook a bit more but still hold nicely for a few hours panned like this. If the IT is above 170 we put them in a Cambro.

For event / fair vending it is a nice serving of chicken that's easy to eat. For comp PC vending, they chop up nicely so we can fit the chunks into the 2 or 3oz cup.
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Unread 03-28-2011, 04:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatinc View Post
Hey Dex,

When we vend / PC we only use boneless skinless thighs. We dry rub them with a ton of Rotiserie style seasoning - you can find it at S & F for about $5.50 per 16oz - this will last us about 40lbs of thighs.

We buy these thighs frozen in a 40# case at S & F for $.99 - $1.03 per lb. You may have to order ahead of time becuase not all S & F carry this item. You can probably also find something similar at RD.

We usually cook the thighs at 225 - 250 for 2 hours or until 160 - 165 internal temp and then pan them up in disposable half pans with a few ounces of apple juice in the bottom and foil the top. Depending on the IT, we'll put them back on the cooker at 180 - 220. They'll cook a bit more but still hold nicely for a few hours panned like this. If the IT is above 170 we put them in a Cambro.

For event / fair vending it is a nice serving of chicken that's easy to eat. For comp PC vending, they chop up nicely so we can fit the chunks into the 2 or 3oz cup.
Thanks for the tip guys. How many do you usually sell per serving? What do you get for them?
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Unread 03-28-2011, 08:12 PM   #6
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I dont like doing chicken for my roadside stand so I usually just do 12 or so whole birds. Wrap in foil when done, throw in Cambro. $8 each, when they're gone, they're gone.

We have done pulled, but what a PITA. Sell pork and beef, people like it better anyway.
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Unread 03-29-2011, 01:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip guys. How many do you usually sell per serving? What do you get for them?
Dex,

For PC = 2/3oz cups - we usually yeild out about 3 servings per thigh but we are pretty generous on loading up the cup.

For catering, I stick to the 1/2lb of meat per person. A boneless skinless thigh is usually around 1/4lb. So for a two meat combo a thigh and a PP sammy usually does the trick.
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Unread 03-30-2011, 11:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dex View Post
For you vendors, how do you smoke/prepare your chicken? Do you brine? Whats the best way to hold them without chancing drying them out? Is there a certain cut of the chicken you prefer to vend?

I plan on firing up the smoker again this weekend to work on chicken and would like to try out a couple different methods!

i usually quarters & if there are any leftovers or 4 hours old whichever comes first, goes to pulled chix or smoked chix salad for the next day.
in chafing dishes or cambros after 4 hours the skin tends to get rubbery & i usually don't have the time to crisp up the skin on the grill.
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Unread 03-30-2011, 05:36 PM   #9
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What temps do you smoke your boneless skinless chicken thighs at? Any issues with them drying out?
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Unread 03-31-2011, 09:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatinc View Post
Hey Dex,

We usually cook the thighs at 225 - 250 for 2 hours or until 160 - 165 internal temp and then pan them up in disposable half pans with a few ounces of apple juice in the bottom and foil the top. Depending on the IT, we'll put them back on the cooker at 180 - 220. They'll cook a bit more but still hold nicely for a few hours panned like this. If the IT is above 170 we put them in a Cambro.

For event / fair vending it is a nice serving of chicken that's easy to eat. For comp PC vending, they chop up nicely so we can fit the chunks into the 2 or 3oz cup.
Thought I would try this today bought a 20 pack b/s thighs at Sam's it weighed little over 6lbs in the package. Rubbed them with some HC Cooked them on my UDS and it yeilded right at 4lbs. Only took 1hr 15 minutes on the UDS. They got a little hot and Internal was 180. Let them cool for about 30 min and pulled with my bear paws. Tasted delicious

I hate messing with chicken but will probably start doing them for roadside since this was pretty easy. We get asked frequently for chicken and now will be able to deliver
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Unread 04-30-2011, 11:38 AM   #11
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Just wanted to throw out another option for you. When I vended chicken I did chicken quarters(leg thigh) and sold them whole, not pulled. My local Walmart had bags of them for $4.89 and had 10 quarters in each bag. Works out to $.50 a quarter and I sold them for $6each or $8 with a side and drink. They took about an hour and a half to cook and with the skin still on they retained all the good juices so didn't have to worry about them drying out. Some people don't like the "rubbery" skin, but I never had one complaint about it.

When I had my resturant I used the same leg thigh quarters and pulled them to make sandwiches. Only reason I did this was because I had so many requests for chicken sandwiches instead of whole quarters.
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Unread 04-30-2011, 11:53 AM   #12
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Leg quarters jerked sell out faster than anything for us.

Usually don't do a full on jerk but rather hit them with jerk seasoning then offer bottled up a sauce as a condiment. It all get's panned then set in the Cambro. If we jerk them some what properly then they get panned and placed in the holding side of the cooker.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 10:27 AM   #13
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Someone once mentioned here that they smoke the frozen 5 oz breast portions from Sams Club. Sprinkle with run and onto the smoker still frozen. I've tried this at home with good results, and they dont take very long. Smoke a few at a time throughout the day, or as needed.
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Unread 05-01-2011, 05:18 PM   #14
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I'm not a fan of that method as I think it gives the nasties too much time to grow out of control.
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